By Stephen Ostrowski | March 4, 2016 | People
Big Boi spills on his solo album, foray into natural dog shampoo, and thoughts on Chance the Rapper.
Big Boi with business partner, Chicago-based Bobbi Panter.
Nearly two years after Outkast’s electric set at Lollapalooza 2014, Antwan André Patton (that’s Big Boi to you) is poised to leave a new Windy City pawprint, er, imprint, collaborating with Chicago-based Bobbi Panter Pet Products on a co-branded line of dog shampoo after his brother, James, used the brand’s canine suds at the pair’s Pitfall Kennels in Atlanta, Georgia.
Ahead of the product’s mid-March launch, and in the middle of a frenetic touring schedule with current passion project Big Grams—Patton’s collaboration with electronic duo Phantogram—the emcee sounded off on pet care, Chicago hip-hop, and hosiery.
What makes Big Boi and Bobbi Dog Shampoo and Big & Bobbi Dog Shampoo different than other products?
BIG BOI: It’s [natural]. Of course, no tears: It doesn’t irritate the skin of the dogs. It makes the pets smell great, you know what I’m saying? It’s something you can use over and over again. What I like the best about it is it didn’t irritate the coat and it made the coat shinier and fluffier and the dogs stayed smelling good for a long period of time.
Everyone wants a dog to smell good. Aside from getting them clean and keeping fleas and ticks off of them, you want your pets smelling fresh all the time. I’ve found that it’s lasted longer.
Has that love for dogs always been with you? What attracted you to dogs and wanting to nurture and take care of them?
BB: My grandfather was a hunter and he used to have dogs in the yard all the time. He had German Shepherds and he had pit bulls and he would take them hunting with him. When the dogs had puppies and stuff, me and my brothers and sisters would take care of them.
We were little man, like real little kids. We would [also] take dogs from the neighborhood—like stray dogs, dogs that might have mange or something like—and bring them back and we’d nurse them back to health. My mom would let us keep the dogs. So these were abandoned dogs; dogs that were stray, and we’d nurse them back to health. We just had pets. We never had purebred dogs; these dogs were just mixed-breed dogs.
What else have you been up to in the studio lately—whether it’s solo material, or Outkast, or part of any of the affiliate groups you’ve worked with in the past?
BB: We’re working on brand new Big Grams material. We’re waiting on the editor to come back for the “Drum Machine” video, which is the next single from Big Grams, first and foremost. We have an animated short on Cartoon Network for two of the records off of Big Grams’ album, “Run for Your Life” and “Born to Shine,” [the latter] featuring Run the Jewels; that comes out at the end of March.
And I’m in the studio now, this will be my third solo record. I just did a couple features too: One with Deitrick Haddon—I shoot a video for that next week—another with this guy, Diamond Dallas, a country singer, which is crazy. The song’s called “Laid Back.” So I got a lot of music coming out in the next couple of months.
I got the Vegas residency where I go out and I DJ once a month in Vegas under the moniker DJ Daddy Fat Scratch, so I do that once a month; I’m booked until 2017 on that. Big Grams is touring, doing just about every major festival in the United States this year, from Governor’s Ball to Sasquatch! to Bonnaroo. We have Vail, Colorado [at the Burton US Open Snowboarding Championships], next week, and Okeechobee [Music & Arts Festival] in Florida next Sunday. We’re booked man, booked solid. Just having fun, enjoying life.
Do you anticipate any potential collaborations with any of the artists that also perform out in Vegas? I know that the Wynn has a pretty deep roster between Avicii, Diplo, Alesso—do you think any collaborations could come out of you spinning out there potentially?
BB: Anything can happen, man. I was just talking to T.I. the other day, I didn’t know that he had a little something he does over there at Drai’s like once a month. I know Chris Brown is out there and a couple of other people. It depends. Everyone wants to work with Daddy Fat Sax and I’m open to working with whomever. It’s all about making good music and pushing the culture forward.
Can you shine a little more insight on that third solo album? Do you have a concept it’s taking shape around, or is it a rough draft at this point and the mechanics and the structure are still TBD?
BB: It’s just, man, one [way] to describe it [is]: Jedi rap sh-t. The most unf---withable music on the planet. We make top-notch, elite street sh-t. I’m just happy where it’s going so far. I’ve got some killer sh-t already down and doing a lot of collaborations with Killer Mike; he’s been coming to the studio just about every day with me. We’ve just been putting it down as it comes to us.
Is there a potential release date fans can expect? Or is that not something you can share at this point?
BB: I’ll be putting out some new Big Boi records by the summertime. Early to mid-summer. I’ve got a couple of songs ready to go right now. I’ll put out a couple of songs first before I put out the whole body of work, just to see if they deserve it.
I’ve seen you post a lot lately with the #AntwanAndreFilms hashtag and it looks like you’ve been frequenting some studios. Can you shine any light on those projects?
BB: I have this animated series called Hotlanta Wax that I’m shopping right now. It’s funny as hell, it’s my cartoon. You’ll be hearing a lot about that in a minute.
So that’s like the main thing I’m working on right now, as well as developing a couple of scripts with the movie director Bryan Barber; we got a lot of ideas and we’ve just been chopping it up about different things and concepts. I just signed on with my new film agency, Paradigm, and I’m just happy to have a good team. And we’re just ready to do the both sides of music—the soundtrack side and acting. So you just gotta stay tuned, Big Boi got a lot of sh-t going on, I’m just trying to be all I can be like the Army!
Between that, and all the music, and then I also see the sock collection … you’re definitely a Renaissance Man working right now.
BB: Just having fun, man. Left Foot by Big Boi is a sock collaboration I did with Andy Hilfiger, Tommy Hilfiger’s brother, at Universal Hosiery. It’s out on sockconnection.com. We did a soft release and now we’re about to gear up and do a real full blowout on the whole thing, so look for that. We’ve been in the hosiery and socks since way back in the Outkast days, and so now I’m getting everyone fresh on the left foot, the right foot, and beyond, you feel me?
Definitely. My last question. Do you have your ear to the Chicago hip-hop scene, and is there any artist—like Vic Mensa, Chance the Rapper, BJ The Chicago Kid—coming out of Chicago that impresses you in particular?
BB: Oh yeah, most definitely. When Outkast did Lollapalooza a couple years ago, I hooked up with Chance the Rapper and we kind of chopped it up. So in the near future, you’ll probably hear some of that. He’s like one of my favorites right now; I love him; dude is the sh-t.